Timber species

Date Published

5 September 2022

Document Type




Wood is a natural material, and is sourced from many different tree species. Each species produces timber which varies in colour, density and performance properties, all of which will influence that species’ suitability for a particular job.

Tree species are broadly divided into two main groups: softwood and hardwood. Softwood comes from cone-bearing, coniferous trees, while hardwood comes from deciduous trees which shed their leaves at the end of growing season or during a dry season.

Hardwoods are also further divided based on where they grow, into tropical and temperate.

Key Information

This Timber Tips sheet contains a species table which details the species, origin, colour, density, texture, moisture movement, working qualities, durability, treatability of Heartwood and uses of a number of common softwoods and temperate and tropical hardwoods.

Case studies

Thomas and Sally Beevor gave a simple brief to Neil Winder of StudioMGM Architects. They wanted a new house to retire to.
It needed to have a downstairs master bedroom, should accommodate their interests and most importantly must use as much timber as possible from the estate sawmill.

The Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre is a new teaching and live entertainment space at The Perse School, an independent co-educational school in Cambridge.